I showed my ignorance big-time when suggesting on screen that pure honey was anything else than pure honey. Anyway, I think I made up for it with this impressive take on an immortal British classic. Although only a small amount of fresh lavender is called for, it will make all the difference to the end result so don’t be tempted to lose lavender. Once you’ve used a couple of flowers, leave the remaining bunch sitting in a jar on your kitchen counter. It will look and smell fantastically French.
- 8 apricots (390 g), stoned and quartered (355 g)
- 1½ tbsp lemon juice
- 1⅓ tbsp good quality runny honey, plus an extra 1 tsp for drizzling
- 200 g Madeira cake (shop-bought is fine), broken up into 4 cm chunks
- 3 tbsp amaretto liqueur
- 100 g walnuts, roughly chopped
- ¾ tsp picked lavender petals
- 100 g ricotta
- 150 g crème fraîche
- 50 g mascarpone
- 20 g icing sugar
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Place the apricots in a small saucepan with the lemon juice, 1½ tablespoons of water and 1 tablespoon of honey. Place on a medium heat and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the apricots have broken down to a runny compote. You might need to add a little bit more water if the apricots start sticking to the pan. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Place the cake in a bowl, pour over the liqueur and use your hands to gently toss the cake so that all the liquid is absorbed.
Put the walnuts in a bowl with the remaining half a tablespoon of honey and half of the lavender petals. Stir and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the ricotta, crème fraîche, mascarpone and icing sugar. Once well combined, set aside.
Place some of the sponge at the bottom of 4 individual glass bowls. Spoon some cream on top, followed by some of the compote and then the nuts. Repeat this layering process once more for each portion, drizzle over the remaining honey and sprinkle with the remaining lavender petals.
View all the recipes from Ottolenghi's Mediterranean Island Feast.